BENGALURU: The holy month of Ramzan has begun and several areas in namma Bengaluru have come alive with scrumptious iftar delicacies at popular restaurants and roadside food stalls. Delicious smoky aromas waft through the air drawing food lovers, across communities, to indulge their taste buds with the months specials and some year round favourites. We are spoilt for choice between the crisp and flaky mince meat samosas, fiery seekh rolls, nutritious haleem, simmering tawa ghosht, lip-smacking baida roti, refreshing falooda, matka firni and lots more.
Among the many streets in the city, Mosque Road is one of our all-time favourite foodie destination to enjoy the best of this month-long food mela. We start our journey at the legendary Albert Bakery where we brave the crowd to get our share of the mildly spiced kheema samosas, savoury brain puffs and a sweet khova naan. We can tell you for a fact that all the jostling in the crowds at the bakery is well worth the effort once you come out victorious with your share of the food booty.
Next, we hop across the road to reach Hyderabad’s famous Pista House who set up shop only this month to sell their legendary haleem and qubbani ka meetha. Haleem is a comforting nutritious meal which comprises meat, pounded wheat, lentils, pure ghee, spices and dry fruits - continuously stirred in large cauldrons over wood fire from early morning until afternoon. It is best savoured with a garnish of coriander, crisp fried onion slivers and a dash of lemon juice. Baida roti, a tava fried roomali roti stuffed with a mixture of beaten egg, kheema, chopped onions and
green chillies, is another popular savoury dish flying off the shelf in Mosque Road. You can get this roti at several outlets, however, our favourite is at Chichaba’s Taj and Charminar Kabab Paradise, next to the mosque. Other exotic offerings include patthar ghosht (meat slow-cooked on a stone slab over charcoal), barbecued phal meat slivers, seekh rolls, chicken lollipop, kutt, quail, falooda, double ka meetha and matka firni.
In addition to the makeshift food booths, the local restaurants in the area are also offering iftar goodies along with their year-round menu. There is Alibaba Café, Rahhams, Empire and Savoury, but our vote goes to Karama for their rich nihari ghosht, Afghani dajaj (chicken), laham meshwi (mutton), mandi rice and Karachi naan and Chichaba’s Taj on MM Road where you can get hot paya ka salan and a rich gurda-kaleji dish apart from a range of savouries and sweets.
Since all this food can get tad heavy, we recommend you finish your meal with a sulaimani chai to settle down the meats and greasy savouries. Also, try hareera, a healthy hot drink made with milk, almonds, chironji, cardamom, saffron and sugar, all boiled over several hours in a huge utensil.
The good thing about this mouth-watering street food fiesta is the price. If you shop right and share the food with family and friends, it would add up to around `200-250 per head for a satisfying meal here. Samosa’s are `10-12 each, bheja puffs`35, baida roti `80, haleem `150-190, patthar ghosht `80, seekh rolls `80-100, phirni `50, hareera `20 and sulaimani chai `10.
Some tips: Shops open around 4pm, so get here early to avoid large crowds. Finally, we suggest you take a walk down the streets, which will allow you the time to soak in the sights, sounds and aromas of this foodie haven while intermittently stopping to savour delicious iftar treats.
Aslam Gafoor is a Bengaluru-based hospitality professional, food lover and travel enthusiast